Even if you aren’t a blogger here on WordPress, have a look at this process. I found this whole thing to be rather entertaining!
I was searching in the WordPress Forum the other day trying to figure out how to manage my Followers when I stumbled onto a thread about the listings of Followers. There are two lists; one for the folks that follow you by Email and the other for WordPress followers. WordPress followers have a blog site on WordPress and can just press the Follow button and the new person’s posts will automatically show up in the Reader feed. People that follow by email do not have a WordPress site and just receive an email when a new post is published.
This person was asking how they could compare the list of people they followed with the list of their followers. They most likely wanted to unfollow the people that weren’t following them, or they wanted to gently remind them that they were out here and perhaps they could follow them back.
I found the whole concept intriguing! This also seems to be a trend at the moment. So many new apps are out to help you grow your online presence or to do exactly what he was wanting to do here; unfollow people that don’t follow you back!
Twitter has made this so easy to do now! It’s a breeze to see who is following you back on Twitter. It makes me wonder why other social media spots aren’t doing the same, but then it dawned on me that this would defeat the purpose of social media. Social media is all about that broad reach. They want you to follow others like crazy! When people start unfollowing others is when that trending line starts to droop.
I wonder if this will be a sort of decline in social networking.
There wasn’t a clear answer in the thread and there doesn’t seem to be an easy answer to this chap’s question anyway because in doing a bit of research on my own lists after reading that, I found that there is not an easy way to make that kind of comparison. But there is a way to figure it out and it’s not what you’d expect.
The first bit of information that is crucial for you to know is this; the blog name and the person subscribing will not always be the same! For instance, when I follow your blog it’s probably as Madeline Laughs, but the name of my blog is Madeline Scribes. So you can not print out lists and compare them in that manner. You will have to visit each blog in order to determine if they are the same, or not.
I love a mystery!
The first visit I made was to the list of my WordPress Followers. This list is found on your Stats page. These are the folks that also have a blog here on WordPress. On this list you can see who follows you and you can also see if you follow them. This is the only list that has that feature. I started on the last page, highest page number. These would be people that have been following me the longest. I visited each blog!
That took me quite a while, but eventually I had visited each one. I read new posts and made comments on blogs that were current. I found quite a few that no longer existed or had not made a new post in a few years. There were also some that were marked Private and for those I requested an invitation.
What was fascinating were the blogs entitled with things like “Just got Divorced! Now what?” or “Living Life to the Fullest!” and yet they either had no posts at all, or hadn’t posted in years. I was left wondering what happened. My imagination took some time making up different scenarios for each one, like; “Divorced and Dating a New Guy and he’s super hot and a Millionaire!”
One important task to take care of here is that even if you don’t leave a comment, make sure you Like the latest post. This will be like leaving behind bread crumbs when you look at your next list, which is found in your Reader.
That WordPress Follower list was easy to go through. Now on to the list that is the most difficult!
To find the list of blogs you follow, click on Reader in the upper lefthand side of your Dashboard menu. It’s at the top next to My Site. See it? Click that. Navigate your cursor to click Manage and click that. This is now a list of every blog you follow here on WordPress. If you’re anything like me, it’s much, much larger than the list of blogs that follow you!
I arranged the list by Date, made sure I had plenty of paper and ink in my printer, and printed the entire list out. If you aren’t feeling particularly ambitious, try printing out 5 or 6 pages to get you started. Then you’ll have an idea of how time consuming it might be, or how easy. I’ll tell you how I did it.
I printed out the last pages first. That way I could see the blogs that I followed when I first got started here. It was like an archaeological dig! You’ll have to save the list to something like Notepad so you can send it to a printer.
So many of the older blogs were now defunct. I was saddened by the sheer number of people that had simply stopped saying anything anymore. I wonder when I’ll run out of words.
Open the manage portion on your Reader again and click the Search icon on the second line, not the first one. It’s a small magnifying glass icon. The first line will continue to pop up on every completed Search, but ignore it and use the second box. The first box will hunt for blogs you want to follow. The searches you’re doing now are for blogs that you already follow. Pick the blog name from the list you’ve printed out and type it in the search box until it appears in the search terms and then click the blog link. Now you’ll see the most recent posts.
I bet you’re wondering why you should do it this way.
What you’ll look for are the bread crumbs now. You’re looking for that Likes icon to be lit up in yellow or the Comments section to have your recent comment displayed. This will show you that this is a blog that you follow, that follows you back.
What did I find?
Again I found blogs that had gone belly up. No posts or no posts in years and more blogs marked private. I started to think that if they had stopped writing perhaps they mark it private so they don’t have to deal with maintenance, like answering questions or approving comments. I think that’s what I’d do too. I still requested an invitation, but that’s just me.
What did I do when I realized it was a blog that I followed, that did not follow me?
If a situation like that is cut and dried for you, that’s one thing, but for me this is never a place where I would just click a delete button and carry on about my day. I follow people for a reason. Oh yes! Now I will also follow them if they come to my blog and follow me, I will definitely follow them back, no question. But I also take a moment to visit their blog to check out what they’re about. I like to know who is following me so I can figure out why they would.
So if I find a blog that doesn’t follow me back I’ll visit them and take a look at what they’re writing. If I like it, I’ll keep following. Wouldn’t you?
If they haven’t posted in years, or they’re private or if they have never made a single post, those are the blogs I will unfollow. If there’s nothing there to read then they can’t really fault me, right?
As for the Email Followers, sometimes I will do a Google search for them. I have had some malignant stalkers over the years and I like to just keep track for my own peace of mind. But no matter if they’re just subscribing to keep tabs on me, or not, I see every single follower as a compliment to my writing. If they want to pay homage by having my posts drop down into their email box every single time I get the urge to bang on my keyboard, then I think that’s kind of cool.
That’s how it’s done! It might not be so easy, but it’s doable. Good luck out there comparing those lists and making some awesome discoveries. I’m still checking mine out and I’ll keep you posted on what I find and if I discover an easier way. Until then, follow me and I’ll follow you!